The journey into motherhood can be one of the most exciting and daunting life transitions a woman will ever experience, especially for those expecting a baby for the first time. This pregnancy period will be a good time to learn about this new role that will bring the many challenges and adventures of motherhood and family life.
Change generally isn't always viewed as something good to many people. However, motherhood is an exceptional change in any woman's life. After the arrival of a baby, new moms would often agree that motherhood is the single most amazing experience of their life. It will amaze you how such a little person can evoke such deep emotions and bring such joy not only to your life, but to everyone else's around.
It's also the little things, like your baby's smile that can make your heart melt or a painful cry that can break your heart, that leave you in a sense of wonderment. And in spite of the sleepless nights and worrying, there is a sense of fulfilment many new moms will agree to be experiencing; as actress Meryl Streep was quoted saying, “Motherhood has a very humanising effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.”
Regardless of your role prior to motherhood – as a career woman or otherwise – you might notice that the tasks and goals you were once capable of become a distant memory; sometimes even becoming immaterial next to being a mom.
The scores of things to do and learn, like how to feed and settle your baby, how to change a nappy, what solids your child should eat, your baby's development stages, disciplining your child, etc. will either seem like a nightmare or a steep learning curve. Yet when you realise that it's for another human being for whom you are fully responsible and who will love you unconditionally, motherhood will become your new and more fulfilling “career”.
What's also important to remember is that your relationships will change. With the attention equation turned upside down with another addition to the family, it will take some juggling on your part to reinforce your relationships with your partner, extended family and social circle too.
Keeping expectations of motherhood realistic
Acknowledging that having a baby will change things is one step to keeping your expectations of motherhood realistic. It's important to do so particularly during your pregnancy.
While news of your pregnancy spurs on excitement about what to buy for the baby, maternity clothes for yourself, what type of birth you want to experience and a myriad of other questions, it would help to take a moment to reflect on what you and your partner expect from this pregnancy and when you bring a new baby into this world.
Being realistic would help you prepare for the emotional rollercoaster you might experience, including postnatal depression. By keeping in touch with your ideals and acknowledging what motherhood is really about, it will allow you to embrace the spontaneity of raising your child.
Often, it's easy to become clouded by the expectations and personal experiences of other mothers and relatives on how you should raise your child. These thoughts can confuse, frustrate and sometimes cause depression; driving you into that dreaded mother guilt– making you think that you are not being a good mother, that you are not doing the right thing, or that being a parent is too hard!
But every mother's experience will be different. Inasmuch as some may go through a rough maternity period, while others will take it easily in their stride. So if you can accept that having and raising a baby will be difficult and that your life will change, it might make things easier for you to manage.
Taking it day by day
Don't let other people's expectations set the standard for raising your family. What you and your partner want for your child will not always be what other people expect. Even if you are a first time mom worrying about not knowing what to do, you will grow to realise later that your natural instincts will kick in.
Just as the little one in your tummy is growing little by little every day, taking the experience in one day at a time can help you embrace the joys of motherhood wholly.
Being a mom is also about you
Even though having a child means making them your first priority, you can often forget to look after yourself as much as you should. You also have your own needs and interests to look after as part of being a parent. Being a mom is a new and challenging role; and in order to raise a healthy and happy family, you need to be a healthy and happy mom too!
Huggies® realises that moms have needs and interests as well, so the articles in this section of the Huggies® site are all about you. Read tips for new mothers, or if you're worried that leaving your job and caring for baby is going to keep you isolated, get connected with other moms.
For more information see New Parents or Parenting.